It isn’t big to make others feel small.
This is a topic I’ll be posting more about in coming weeks, and something which raises strong emotions in everybody I speak to about it.
Most people have experienced bullying in one way or another, whether indirectly or perhaps even being bullied themselves. Whether you’ve been bullied or not, we have all seen the loner at school being picked on by the other kids. And we’ve all probably felt incredibly sad and helpless, because let’s be honest, at school it’s a dog eat dog world and few have the maturity and the guts to stand up on behalf of others. It’s been around since the start of time – but attitudes towards it have certainly changed over the years.
Unfortunately, bullying is also evolving, with the emergence of new technologies and advances in social media and communication. And if we still haven’t had any breakthroughs in ‘normal’ bullying, then we certainly can’t be expected to deal with cyberbullying appropriately.
What’s more, where there are laws for physical and occasionally mental bullying outside of cyberspace, there are no laws currently protecting people from bullying online over social networks and even by text and email.
Some people appear to be of the opinion that bullying is borne out of hardship on the side of the perpetrator. I agree – bullies are insecure, cowardly and unintelligent in expressing their views and feelings. But this is absolutely NOT an excuse. We all have our difficulties and issues – but most of us choose not to take these out on others, because we know that this is wrong. These people mostly know that what they are doing is wrong. But selfishly, they put their own feelings over those of others. Don’t make a bully a victim.
Nor do I believe that being bullied is a sign of weakness. It is simply unlucky – you have been chosen by somebody who wants to make you unhappy. They want you to suffer – and you do not deserve that, no matter what these people say. Being powerless to stop bullies, or how they make you feel, does not mean you have failed yourself or given in. It is incredibly difficult to overcome the feeling of deep sadness and inadequacy caused by being bullied. Don’t underestimate it.
‘Oh, just ignore them.’
Bullying seems to be neglected as ‘one of those things’ that everyone goes through. Yes, school is hard, yes, children can be cruel. But no, I do not believe anybody should have to tolerate bullying. And whilst suicides and mental health problems in young people are on the up, correlating with rising pressure from society to succeed not only academically but also socially and aesthetically, I do not think this is something that should be ignored.
If you are being bullied, please do talk to someone you trust about it. If you don’t have anybody you feel you can talk to, feel free to use the contact form below to get in touch, or search for local counselling groups near you, whether online or in person.
To everybody else – are you with me?